When Lou Reed sang of a ‘Perfect Day’ you could easily believe that he simply and beautifully recognised the special, fleeting moments that leave us with precious memories. No set criteria, no ideals, no striving – just an acceptance of perspective, of the beauty to be found in things the way they are. Well, that’s one way you could choose to look at it but it wasn’t what he was thinking. You can decide for yourself.
The clear skies and revitalising sunshine here in Glasgow, as I write, seem perfect yet they, like the times, are a-changing. The sun that shines so briefly, reaches maximum impact thanks to a special agreement with the trees that they remain undressed of leaves for now, so the light can reach farther down and, being still quite low, underneath and in between the bits it’s scorching heat will not find in the height of the summer months when the fully-clothed trees will offer protection and reach upwards to draw in the life-giving rays.
The gentle warmth, like the light is the wake-up call to the new year and the continuing cycle of seasons as they pick up the pointers telling when to roll on to the next stage – giving each of us our favourite times. I like the coolness but appreciate the warmth to give me a contrast so I recognise my favourite bits and savour them before they pass. Each plays its part, has its drawbacks and its benefits but is there and we cannot change it even if we were able to agree on which bit was to be classified as ‘perfect’ and made into the required standard.
So, if we were ever to identify ‘perfection’ and be able to turn that into our daily standard, would it remain our view of perfection or would it become a grinding bore, the same old thing again, uninspiring sameness dulling our senses to the many examples of beauty to be found elsewhere among the countless choices and perspectives offered for our consideration by our natural environment?
A lifetime isn’t long enough to find perfection and keep it in one place. A moment is, however, so how can that be? Well, imagine the tide. Is it perfect when it’s in or when it’s out or in between and at which stage? It depends. It depends when you see it, how you see it but most of all, if you see it. It can be missed quite easily when it changes, contrasts, ebbs and flows but what would be your experience if it remained the same, with nothing to spark a response but the one that was agreed on, engineered, manufactured or forced?
Sameness can achieve a level of comfort – which can be good. Comfort, though, can become a cage we’re afraid to leave for fear of what we encounter, even though that may be new or even greater comfort just as easily as the equally beneficial contrast it might bring. So, until we achieve perfection what should we each do?
That is a really tough one to answer now I’ve raised the question – but now I can’t pretend the question isn’t there because I have raised it. So what can I do? I can only think that I can do the best I can – in the moment – with the resources I have immediately at my disposal, so that is going to vary. My best in one moment and situation isn’t going to be my best overall, from the whole of my life. Well, one day it will and I won’t know if it’s yet to come or if it’s happened and I missed it or just didn’t recognise it at the time. I don’t know what time I have, anyhow, so planning long-term may be pointless – or not. So all I can do, really, is to accept the natural ebb and flow of life as we think we know it and try to appreciate the best of it from wherever it comes. At several points, through life, the best things will come from you. I think you can only accept that is true or never, ever be satisfied again. Just be the best you can, regardless of everything else, or you might just miss something beautiful.